in·​vent | \in-ˈvent \
invented; inventing; invents

Definition of invent 

transitive verb

1 : to produce (something, such as a useful device or process) for the first time through the use of the imagination or of ingenious thinking and experiment

2 : to devise by thinking : fabricate

3 archaic : find, discover

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Other Words from invent

inventor \in-​ˈven-​tər \ noun
inventress \in-​ˈven-​trəs \ noun

Examples of invent in a Sentence

Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. She is credited with inventing a procedure that has helped to save thousands of lives. She invented a clever excuse. We found out that he had invented the stories he told us about his military service.
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Recent Examples on the Web

John Moore/Getty Images If the migrant caravan didn’t exist, President Donald Trump might have needed to invent it. Dara Lind, Vox, "The migrant caravan, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 Who actually invented the laser is a point of some contention. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "2018 physics Nobel Prize honors 3, including first woman in 55 years," 2 Oct. 2018 Anthony Butler, a radiologist at the Universities of Canterbury and Otago in New Zealand, co-invented it with his father, Phil Butler, a physicist at the University of Canterbury and CEO of MARS Bioimaging Ltd. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "These 3D X-rays are spectacular and really gross," 14 Aug. 2018 There currently is a request for proposal out for technology and design consultants to invent it. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "This new building on BSU's campus will change Boise's iconic cityscape," 4 June 2018 Rowling invented her alter ego, and then Strike and Robin, as an antidote to the Harry Potter madness that had surrounded her for nearly 20 years. Benji Wilson, USA TODAY, "J.K. Rowling on the 'unnerving' challenge of adapting her CB Strike detective novels for TV," 31 May 2018 Electrical Uranus in your sign for 7 years means this will be a cycle of literally re-inventing yourself and your life on the deepest levels. Rebecca Gordon, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Cosmic Look at Your Next 7 Years," 17 May 2018 In dealing Devin Mesoraco to the Mets, the Reds hope is Harvey will re-invent himself, with the help of pitching coach Danny Darwin, and by July 31 be useful enough to bring a couple prospects in the trade. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: The Black Knight's arrival in Cincy is 'eh'," 9 May 2018 Ever since the British voted to leave the bloc in 2016, Brussels has worried the U.K. will seek to re-invent itself as a low-regulation sanctuary that will undercut the bloc’s economic model and lure business., "Zuckerberg Testifies Before Senate Panel," 10 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of invent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for invent

Middle English, from Latin inventus, past participle of invenire to come upon, find, from in- + venire to come — more at come

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Statistics for invent

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for invent

The first known use of invent was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of invent

: to create or produce (something useful) for the first time

: to create or make up (something, such as a story) in order to trick people


in·​vent | \in-ˈvent \
invented; inventing

Kids Definition of invent

1 : to create or produce for the first time Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

2 : to think up : make up She invented an excuse for being late.

Other Words from invent

inventor \-​ˈvent-​ər \ noun

Legal Definition of invent 

: to create or produce for the first time

Other Words from invent

inventor noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on invent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with invent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for invent

Spanish Central: Translation of invent

Nglish: Translation of invent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on invent

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to enclose within walls

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